Arizonans should start to keep eye out for bears up north, official says
PHOENIX — With triple-digit temperatures in the forecast for Phoenix this week, many residents may be looking to escape the heat by heading up north.
But there they could run into a whole other set of problems: Bears.
Diane Tilton with Arizona’s Game and Fish Department told KTAR News 92.3 FM that bears will be active in northern Arizona all summer, even though the chance of spotting one is slim.
“(There’s) probably a less chance to not see one than to see one, but they’re there,” she said.
“We like (bears) to come through, we know that they’re going to be there, but we don’t want them staying, especially near populated areas.”
In order to avoid attracting bears, Tilton advised campers and others up north to clean up their food stashes.
“That’s really what they’re coming for,” she said. “At the end of the day, when you leave camp, (clean up) not only the food in your cooler, but the food in the trailer, in the back of the truck, locked in the vehicle.
“Like us, when they’re hungry, they want to eat and will take the path of least resistance.”
Even though northern Arizona has only recorded one fatal bear attack — back in 2011 in the Pinetop area — Tilton said officials want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“We want to make sure not only humans, but the bears, are doing well.”
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.